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Breastfeeding Newborns

Everything you need to know about breastfeeding your newborn, in one article! This article is organised into weeks, to make it easier for new mummies!

The First Week

How often should the baby be nursing?

Frequent nursing encourages a good milk supply and reduces engorgement. Aim for nursing at least 8 – 12 times per day (24 hours). You CAN’T nurse too often–you CAN nurse too little.

Go on-demand feeding. Nurse at the first signs of hunger (stirring, rooting, hands in mouth)–don’t wait until the baby is crying. Allow the baby unlimited time at the breast when sucking actively, then offer the second breast. Some newborns are excessively sleepy at first–wake baby to nurse if 2 hours (during the day) or 4 hours (at night) have passed without nursing.

Is the baby getting enough milk?

Weight gain: Normal newborns may lose up to 7% of birth weight in the first few days. After mom’s milk comes in, if you are breastfeeding your newborn, they should gain about 170 g/week. Take baby for a weight check at the end of the first week or the beginning of the second week. Consult with the baby’s doctor if the baby is not gaining as expected.

Dirty diapers: In the early days, the baby typically has one dirty diaper for each day of life (1 on day one, 2 on day two…). After day 4, stools should be yellow and the baby should have at least 3-4 stools daily that are the size of about2.5 cm or larger. Some babies stool every time they nurse, or even more often–this is normal, too. The normal stool of a breastfed baby is loose (soft to runny) and may be seedy or curdy.

Wet diapers: In the early days, the baby typically has one wet diaper for each day of life (1 on day one, 2 on day two…). Once mom’s milk comes in, expect 5-6+ wet diapers every 24 hours. To feel what a sufficiently wet diaper is like, pour 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of water into a clean diaper. A piece of tissue in a disposable diaper will help you determine if the diaper is wet.

Breast changes

Your milk should start to “come in” (increase in quantity and change from colostrum to mature milk) between days 2 and 5. To minimize engorgement: nurse often, don’t skip feedings (even at night), ensure good latch/positioning, and let your baby finish the first breast before offering the other side.

Call your doctor if your baby has:

  • no wet or dirty diapers
  • dark coloured urine after day 3 (should be pale yellow to clear)
  • dark coloured stools after day 4 (should be mustard yellow, with no meconium)
  • fewer wet/soiled diapers or nurses less frequently than the goals listed here
  •  or if you have symptoms of mastitis (sore breast with fever, chills, flu-like aching)

Supplement

Get Singapore Lactation Bakes’s Cookies 1-2 weeks in advance and put them in your hospital bag. Skin to skin and latch baby immediately after birth and you may start having the lactation cookies. 10-12 cookies per day promote more letdowns or fuller breasts. Pump or latch baby immediately when you feel the let downs or fuller breast to encourage more milk production.

Weeks Two through Six

How often should the baby be nursing?

Frequent nursing in the early weeks is important for establishing a good milk supply. You should be breastfeeding your newborn                  8 – 12+ times per day (24 hours). You CAN’T nurse too often—you CAN nurse too little.

Nurse at the first signs of hunger (stirring, rooting, hands in mouth) and don’t wait until the baby is crying. Allow the baby unlimited time at the breast when sucking actively, then offer the second breast. Some newborns are excessively sleepy, wake the baby to nurse every 2 hours during the day or 4 hours during the night if the baby doesn’t wake up to nurse. Once the baby has established a good weight gain pattern, you can stop waking the baby and nurse on the baby’s cues alone.

The following things are normal:

  • Frequent and/or long feedings.
  • Varying nursing patterns from day today.
  • Cluster nursing (very frequent to constant nursing) for several hours—usually evenings—each day. This may coincide with the normal “fussy time” that most babies have in the early months.
  • Growth spurts, where baby nurses more often than usual for several days and may act very fussy. Common growth spurt times in the early weeks are the first few days at home, 7 – 10 days, 2 – 3 weeks and 4 – 6 weeks.

Is the baby getting enough milk?

Weight gain: When breastfeeding your newborn, they should gain 6 ounces/week (170 grams/week). Consult with the baby’s doctor and your lactation consultant if the baby is not gaining as expected.

Dirty diapers: Expect 3-4+ stools daily that are the size of about 2.5 cm or larger. Some babies stool every time or even more often when they nurse this is normal. The normal stool of a breastfed baby is yellow and loose (soft to runny) and may be seedy or curdy. After 4 – 6 weeks, some babies stool less frequently, with stools as infrequent as once every 7-10 days. As long as the baby is gaining weight well, this is normal.

Wet diapers: Expect 5-6+ wet diapers every 24 hours. To feel what a sufficiently wet diaper is like, pour 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of water into a clean diaper. A piece of tissue in a disposable diaper will help you determine if the diaper is wet. After 6 weeks, wet diapers may drop to 4-5/day but the amount of urine will increase to 4-6+ tablespoons (60-90+ mL) as the baby’s bladder capacity grows.

Milk supply

Some moms worry about milk supply. As long as the baby is gaining well on mom’s milk alone, then milk supply is good. Between weight checks, a sufficient number of wet and dirty diapers will indicate that baby is getting enough milk.

Boosting Milk supply

Take cookies, muffins, herbs  (called ‘galactagogues’) to stimulate the hormones that govern their milk supply. Eat food that boosts milk will help too. You may need to do some trial and error as everyone’s body reacts differently to food.

 

Reference:

Kelly mom  https://kellymom.com/hot-topics/newborn-nursing/

 

 

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